Vietnam fosters comprehensive partnerships with Australia, New Zealand

(VOVworld)- On Monday, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung began official visits to Australia and New Zealand at the invitations of Prime Ministers Tony Abbot and John Key. The visits are of great importance in strengthening Vietnam’s comprehensive partnerships with these two countries.

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Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visits Australia

Australia and New Zealand have over the past few years focused on strengthening their relationships with close allies, enhancing their roles at multilateral forums by connecting with ASEAN and raising their position in the evolving regional structure. Since 2009, Vietnam has established comprehensive partnerships with both these countries.

Vietnam- Australia’s key ASEAN partner

As Vietnam has become more dynamic, Australia has played a greater role in enhancing peace, cooperation and development in the Asia-Pacific region. The two countries share common interests and common concerns with regard to security, cooperation and development issues in the region.

In a White Paper called Australia in the Asian Century published in 2012, Australia set a goal of fostering ties with Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam. Vietnam is one of the two ASEAN countries that have established comprehensive partnerships with Australia. Political relations between Vietnam and Australia have developed rapidly. They have maintained high-ranking visits and contacts and have effectively enhanced bilateral dialogue and cooperation mechanisms. Australia is one of Vietnam’s 10 best trade partners and 20 leading investors. Two-way trade has grown rapidly from 32 million USD in 1990 to more than 6 billion USD in 2014. Both countries are signatories to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. They are currently participating in the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. So far, Australia has granted Vietnamese students 4,000 scholarships and there are currently 30,000 Vietnamese students including post-graduates studying in Australia. Australia is one of Vietnam’s 10 largest tourism markets with some 320,000 tourists visiting Vietnam last year.

Australia considers Vietnam a key partner in Southeast Asia due to its interest in peace, stability and cooperation in Southeast Asia and safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, Australian politicians have frequently stressed the importance of maintaining peace, stability and security in the region and peacefully resolving disputes in line with international law including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. They called on parties involved not to use or threaten to use force, refrain from actions that increase tension in the region, and quickly complete the Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

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Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met with the Governor General of New Zealand Jerry Mateparae during the latter's state visit to Vietnam in March 2013

Fostering comprehensive partnership with New Zealand

After Australia, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will pay an official visit to New Zealand. The visit takes place when the two countries are preparing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their bilateral ties. Since the two countries established a comprehensive partnership in 2009, they have jointly implemented a series of cooperation programs. Two-way trade has increased rapidly and reached nearly 800 million USD last year. Vietnam is New Zealand’s 20th largest trade partner. New Zealand now has 25 investment projects in Vietnam with a total capital of nearly 82 million USD involving education, training, industry, processing, manufacturing, finance, banking, insurance and agriculture.

During his two-day visit to New Zealand on March 19 and 20, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will meet with New Zealand leaders to discuss boosting the comprehensive partnership and accelerating the TPP negotiation.

Prime Minister Dung’s tour of Australia and New Zealand will enhance political trust between the leaders and create a firm foundation to further Vietnam’s relationship with these two countries.